charlie and the chocolate factory

      Biography

      ROALD DAHL was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. He spent his childhood in England and, at age 18, went to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. At the age of 26 he moved to Washington, D.C., and it was there he began to write. His first short story, which recounted his adventures in the war, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post, and so began a long and illustrious career.

      After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Dahl began writing children’s stories in the early 1960s while living in England with his family. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

      Roald Dahl is now considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Although he passed away in 1990, his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

      Learn more about Roald Dahl on the official Roald Dahl website: www.roalddahl.com.

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      Roald Dahl was born to parents who were from Norway, but he was actually born in Wales, 1916. The family used to spend the summer holidays on a little Norwegian island, swimming, fishing and going by boat. When Roald was four years old, his father died, so his mother had to organise the trip alone for herself and her six children.

      At school, he was always homesick. At St. Peter's Prep School, all the letters home were controlled by the headmaster, and afterwards at Repton Public School, he had to wear a horrible school uniform [with braces, waist coat, hat and lots of buttons, all black]. The younger boys were often punished by the headmaster and the older boys called prefects. Roald lays much emphasis on describing the school-beatups in his book. You could get beaten for small mistakes like leaving a football sock on the floor, for burning the prefect's toast at teatime or for forgetting to change into house-shoes at six o'clock. The most terrible beatings, however, were given by the headmaster himself, who was also a clergyman. He was so cruel, that he made a pause after each beat to smoke his pipe and talk about sins and wrongdoing, while the boy had to remain kneeling. After ten beats, the victim was told to wash away the blood first, before putting on the trousers. By the way, this headmaster became later the Archbishop of Canterbury. Roald Dahl kept telling himself, that if this was one of God's chosen men, there was something going very wrong about the whole business.

      After school, Roald Dahl didn't go to university, but applied for a job at the Shell company, because he was sure they would send him abroad. He was sent to East Africa, where he got the adventure he wanted: great heat, crocodiles, snakes and safaries. He lived in the jungle, learned to speak Swahili and suffered from malaria. When the second World War broke out, he went to Nairobi to join the Royal Air Force. He was a fighter pilot and shot down German planes and got shot down himself. After 6 months in hospital he flew again.

      In 1942, he went to Washington as Assistant Air Attaché. There, he started writing short stories. In 1943, he published his first children's book The Gremlins with Walt Disney and in 1945 his first book of short stories appeared in the US. His marriage with the actress Patricia Neal was unhappy. During the marriage she suffered a stroke and when she regained consciousness, she could hardly read, count and talk. But Roald managed to nurse her back to health, so that she could act again. Nevertheless, he got divorced in 1983 and married Felicity Crosland. He recieved several awards, such as the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

      His collections of short stories have been translated into many languages and have been best-sellers all over the world. Among them are Someone Like You, Sweet Mystery Of Life, Kiss Kiss and Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories Tales of the Unexpected and the novel My Uncle Oswald.

      His books are mostly fantasy, and full of imagination. They are always a little cruel, but never without humour - a thrilling mixture of the grotesque and comic. A frequent motif is, that people are not what they appear to be. Mary Maloney in Lamb to the Slaughter, for example, is not a friendly widow, but a clever murderess. In his stories, the background is perfectly worked out: details are very close to reality.

      Roald Dahl didn't only write books for grown-ups, but also for children, such as James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Gremlins. About his children's stories he said once: "I make my points by exaggerating wildly. That's the only way to get through to children." Roald Dahl is perhaps the most popular and best-selling children's book author. However, these stories are so sarcastic and humorous, that also adults appreciate reading them.

      Roald Dahl died in November 1990. The Times called him "one of the most widely read and influential writers of our generation"

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      S E L E C T E D  B O O K S


      • THE GREMLINS, 1943 - originally written for Walt Disney. The Gremlins movies uses the name but are unrelated: first 1984, dir. by Joe Dante; the second 1990, Grewmlins 2. dir. by Joe Dante. - One episode of The Twilight Zone Movie (1983), scripted by Richard Matheson was based on the idea
      • OVER TO YOU, 1945
      • SOMETIME NEVER, 1948
      • SOMEONE LIKE YOU, 1953, rev. 1961
      • THE HONEYS, 1955 (play, prod. in New York)
      • KISS, KISS, 1959
      • JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, 1961 - animation film 1996
      • CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, 1964 - film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 1971 - Jali ja suklaatehdas
      • THE MAGIC FINGER, 1966
      • YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, 1967 (screenplay based on Ian Fleming's novel, with Harry Jack Bloom) CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, 1968 (screenplay based on Ian Fleming's children's book, with Ken Hughes)
      • TWENTY-NINE KISSES FROM ROALD DAHL, 1969
      • FANTASTIC MR. FOX, 1970
      • FANTASTIC MR. FOX, 1970 - Kekseliäs kettu
      • SELECTED STORIES, 1970
      • THE NIGHT-DIGGER, 1970 (screenplay)
      • THE LIGHTNING BUG, 1971 (screenlay)
      • WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, 1971 (screenplay)
      • CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR, 1972
      • PENGUIN MODERN STORIES 12, 1972 (with others)
      • THE WITCHES, 1973 - film The Witches, 1989
      • SWITCH BITCH, 1975 - Alahuuli
      • DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, 1975 - film 1989
      • THE WONDERFUL STORY OF HENRY THE SUGAR AND SIX MORE, 1977
      • CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR, 1978
      • THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE AND MR WILLY WONKA, 1978
      • THE ENORMOUS CROCODILE, 1978
      • THE BEST OF ROALD DAHL, 1978
      • TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, 1979
      • TASTE AND OTHER TALES, 1979
      • MY ONCLE OSWALD, 1979
      • THE TWITS, 1980
      • GEORGE'S MARVELOUS MEDICINE, 1980
      • MORE TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, 1980 - television movie, 1979
      • THE WAY UP TO HEAVEN AND OTHER STORIES, 1980
      • A ROALD DAHL SELECTION, 1980
      • THE BFG, 1982
      • ROALD DAHL'S REVOLTING RHYMES, 1982
      • MATILDA, 1982 - suom.
      • ROALD DAHL'S BOOK OF GHOST STORIES, 1983
      • TWO FABLES, 1983
      • DIRTY BEASTS, 1983
      • RHYME STEW, 1983
      • THE WITCHES, 1983
      • BOY: TALES OF CHILDHOOD, 1984
      • THE GIRAFFE AND THE PELLY AND ME, 1985
      • TWO FABLES, 1986
      • GOING SOLO, 1986
      • THE SECOND ROALD DAHL SELECTION, 1987
      • MATILDA, 1988 - film Road Dahl's Matilda, 1996, dir. by Danny deVito
      • RHYME STEW, 1989
      • AH, SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE, 1989
      • ROALD DAHL: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR, THE BFG, 1989
      • ESIO TROT, 1990
      • THE MINIPINS, 1991
      • THE VICAR OF NIBBLESWICK, 1991
      • MEMORIES WITH FOOD AT GIPSY HOUSE, 1991 (with F. Dahl)
      • THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES, 1991
      • THE DAHL DIARY, 1992, 1991
      • THE DAHL COLLECTION OF NURSERY VERSE, 1992 (ed.)
      • MY YEAR, 1993

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    Photos taken from the 2005 movie Charlie and the
    Chocolate Factory
    courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures




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    BIOG. | BOOKS | GALLERY | CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
    LITERARY RARITIES IN STOCK | ADVERTISE HERE
    TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED COMPLETE SERIES REVIEW
    1ST SERIES REVIEW | 2ND SERIES REVIEW | 3RD SERIES REVIEW
    4TH SERIES REVIEW | 5TH SERIES REVIEW | 6TH SERIES REVIEW
    7TH SERIES REVIEW | 8TH SERIES REVIEW
    TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED - MAN FROM THE SOUTH/ROYAL JELLY/FAT CHANCE EPISODES

    KINGSLEY AMIS | MARTIN AMIS | ALBERT CAMUS
    LEWIS CARROLL| JOHN LE CARRE | JEAN COCTEAU
    ROALD DAHL | CHARLES DICKENS | DOSTOEVSKY | DAPHNE DU MAURIER
    JOHN FOWLES | JEAN GENET | ANDRE GIDE | GRAHAM GREENE
    MILAN KUNDERA | SARTRE | EVELYN WAUGH





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